Posts Tagged ‘attractions’
As these last days of the longest summer of my life tick by, I am trying to balance out the park days (days we just make some sandwiches and head to Herbert Park in the hood) and days of outings where we try to do some new activity in Dublin. Today, I decided to take Soph, John, and Lincoln to Dublinia, the Dublin Viking Museum. It’s got some pretty good exhibit areas, showing how the Vikings lived, fought, and even went to the bathroom. (The expression on the wax figure they have sitting on the Viking toilet is priceless. Someone at Dublinia has a sense of humor). But, as Sophie pointed out several times, the wax figures were “creepy” and she was not a big fan. Can’t really disagree.
Dublinia is connected to Christ Church. So, we bought tickets to check that out, mainly to see the mummified remains in the crypt below the church. Someone had told me about these and the kids seemed keen to check them out, especially Lincoln. Sophie was the most hesitant, especially after the wax figures. We wandered down under the main knave of the church to the crypt, which sounds spooky. In actuality, it was like a very well lit wine cellar, minus the wine. It had beautiful arches and several display cases of some of the church’s treasures, like gold plates and goblets. Turns out that there are no mummified people remains down there. However, it is home to a mummy cat and mummy rat that were found trapped in the organ in the 1860’s and were immortalized (even more!) by Joyce in Ulysses.
In the cheerful and weirdly cozy crypt there is also a small café to one side, with tables and chairs and puffy red velvet couches. The kids insisted that this was the perfect spot for lunch, so we sat and ordered some sandwiches and drinks. Lincoln was the first to finish his food and start acting the fool, as his babysitter might say. So I tried to sternly tell him, “Do you know whose house this is? It’s God’s house. And if you misbehave in God’s house, he is going to be very upset with you”. Normally, I NEVER pull out the “God is watching you” card. But he had just been talking about Santa and being very despondent about his chances for presents this Christmas, based on his own self-assessment that “I am always bad. I hit John.” So, I had been about to say that Santa was watching him, but then the God thing popped in my mind because of the locale. As soon as I gave my “This is God’s house…” etc. speech Soph and John looked at me and then both burst out laughing. I couldn’t resist and started laughing too .I guess dogma is more effective when the person delivering it at least believes it themselves.
We had our first family trip last weekend, to the south of England. A friend of John’s from high school, Johan, lives there with his family. Even though they had not seen each other in 22 years, he kindly offered to put all of us up for five days, even our nanny. I kept asking John, “Are you sure he knows what he is getting into???”. Apparently, he did. They live in a very charming little village called Godalming, which I pronounced “Gold-ah-ming” for the first four days, until John exclaimed in an exasperated voice “You’re never going to get it right!”. That quickly prompted me to get it right and prove him wrong. It’s about a 30 minute train ride outside of London, in Surrey. The area is truly picturesque, with little cottages, blooming flowers trailing down every windowsill, and thatched roofs. One day, we even saw a roof getting repaired and the man’s truck said “Master Thatcher”. I am sure that this is a speciality.
John and Johan have not seen each other in 22 years not only due to the usual happening of life after high school, but also because their high school was located in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Needless to say, I have not met many of John’s high school friends. It’s not like there are reunions. So, I was really keen to meet Johan. He is Swedish and has a very dry wit, which I appreciated. His wife, Violeta, is from Madrid, so I subjected her to my rusty Castilian for a few days. She was a very good sport.
They have two children, Boris (13) and Christina (6). Both were utterly delightful and I am not one to just think anyone else kids are great, simply because I am not the one having to deal with them. Boris was smart and completely tolerant of John John and Lincoln, who of course worshiped him because he was older. He’s also one of those rare kids who feels just as comfortable with adults as he does kids. Christina is a total doll. Petite and beautiful, with the cutest British accent that reminded me of the show “Charlie and Lola”. Her parents claim that she is a devil in a pink dress, but for our visit she was completely charming.
The first full day there we took the train into London. It was very easy and dropped us right off in Waterloo Station. If you walk straight out of the station you almost run smack into the London Eye, a HUGE Ferris Wheel. It so big that the cars are about as large as our den and can easily fit about 15 people, with room to walk around and see the view from all around. It really was a spectacular view. From the first day we got to Dublin, Lincoln has asked daily to go to the Ferris wheel that is here. The problem is that it doesn’t ever seem to be moving. So, I thought he would be thrilled to get on the Eye. But once he laid eyes on the Eye, he started in, “I do NOT want to get on that. I do NOT want to go.” I just insisted and drug him on. Once we got a little bit up in the air, he looked at me with delight and said, ”Ok, Mommy. You were right. Lincoln was wrong. I DID want to come on this.” Totally worth it.
We had a full great day in London and had just settled onto the full train for the 30 minute ride back to Godalming. Lincoln asks me there is a potty on the train. I say no and he grabs himself. It’s an emergency. I am at a loss. Then I have the brilliant idea of getting one of Noah’s diapers, sticking it down the front of Lincoln’s pants and letting him pee on that. He thinks this is a great idea. I get the diaper out and he starts to pull open the front of his waistband so I can put the diaper in place. Unfortunately, it’s that phenomenon of when you really have to go and as you get close to the toilet, you can barely contain it. Well, Lincoln didn’t contain it. He just started peeing and loudly proclaimed, “I am peeing”. He peed mostly on himself, some on me, and some on the floor of the train. The best was the British woman sitting a foot away. She kept a stiff upper lip, never looking up from her book, and pretended like it was not happening. I am sure that she has told the story of the gross Americans from the train several times since!
The second day we drove to the coast to Brighton where we hit the pier. It is the British version of the Santa Monica pier, complete with carny rides. The kids were in hog heaven. Sophie screamed so loud on the rides that she lost her voice. I was amazed since the last roller coaster she rode was a baby one at Disneyworld and she didn’t forgive me for a week for making her get on. I knew John John would love the rides, because he is a secret daredevil. Rides and scary images on tv just don’t rock his boat. Kissing on tv, on the other hand, makes him cover his face with a pillow.
We had taken the ferry from Dublin to Hollyhead and then drove over. So going home, we had about a six hour drive to reach the ferry from Johan’s house. John drove almost the whole way, which was good, because otherwise, we would have missed the ferry. The GPS has a clock on the bottom that we set to tell you when you will arrive at your destination. Based on experience, we knew it to be scarily accurate. We needed to be at the ferry port NO LATER than 1:10. For a long while, the GPS grimly showed 1:25. John took over at one point with a mission, and we both obsessively watch the GPS……1:24, 1:23. Etc.
We rolled onto the ferry at exactly 1:10. Just in the nick of time.